San Beda alumni to Duterte: Take back remarks on West Philippine Sea row
President Rodrigo Duterte is seen giving his weekly public address on MAY 10, 2021.
Presidential Photo/Joey Dalumpines

San Beda alumni to Duterte: Take back remarks on West Philippine Sea row

(Philstar.com) - May 17, 2021 - 2:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Some alumni from President Rodrigo Duterte's alma mater sought for a better stand from him on the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, and urged him to retract his remarks on the issue that came under fire.

Graduates of San Beda University were particularly concerned about Duterte's comments that Beijing is in possession of the country's waters. This includes his likening to the crucial arbitral win in 2016 to a piece of paper that he can just throw away.

"When a part of our country's territory is taken against our will by the People's Republic of China," they said in a May 16 statement, "and our countrymen, particularly the fishermen, are threatened with force from exclusively enjoying our nation's marine resources, the President is solemnly bound to uphold, defend and protect his countrymen and the integrity of our national territory."

Duterte is an alumnus of San Beda Law, who obtained his degree in 1972. 

Signatories said the president should retract his remarks, given usually during his late night public address. 

They also urged him to "categorically, demonstrably and publicly uphold" Article 12, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution that government will protect the country's marine resources within its territories, and ensure that its citizens have exclusive use to it.

"This fraternal appeal is respectfully made in answer to clarion call for San Beda, our country, and God," they added.

Experts have since warned of the repercussions of Duterte's comments. China has ignored the 2016 ruling that invalidated its claim in the waters, but has continued to allow ships and vessels there. 

So far, the president has only sought to retaliate to the growing criticism. He has resorted to personal attacks too, particularly on ex-DFA chief Albert del Rosario and former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio, whom he challenged to a debate only to back out from, has since launched a separate petition for the President to retract his statements. — Christian Deiparine

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